When it comes to leftover food, dogs will often dive straight in without a second thought – but what human foods are safe for dogs to eat and which fruit, vegetables and sweet treats are dangerous or toxic for our dogs?
Making sure your dog has a healthy and balanced diet, combined with the appropriate amount of exercise for their breed, is really important. It helps them maintain strong bones, healthy digestive systems and happy hearts.
So what human foods can we feed our dogs safely? We must bare in mind two things:
Just because something is safe for us to eat doesn't mean it will go down as well in our dogs.
Human foods should only make up a very small part of a dog's diet. The majority should be dog food.
Remember! Whenever you are introducing your dog to a new food, start with small amounts and watch for any reactions. If they do have an adverse reaction, consult your vet.
10 human foods dogs CAN'T eat
Melanie Sainsbury, Veterinary Education Manager at Natures Menu, reveals the top 10 household ingredients to watch out for that are harmful to pets:
Chocolate – Chocolate contains theobromine which dogs are unable to digest. The darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains. Dog owners should be particularly careful around Easter and Christmas when there is likely to be a lot of chocolate lying around the house. Here are the signs your dog has eaten chocolate and what to do about it.
Xylitol – Xylitol is a common ingredient used to replace sugar and is commonly found in chewing gum and sweets. It is also used as a food additive. Xylitol can cause insulin release, hypoglycaemia, comas, liver damage and blood clotting disorders in dogs.
Garlic and onions – Though delicious to us humans, both garlic and onions can cause gastrointestinal upset and red blood cell damage in dogs. Signs can be delayed and only become apparent a few days following ingestion.
Grapes, raisins and dried fruit – These small, dried morsels can cause liver and kidney damage in dogs. Although their toxicity levels are unknown, dog owners should always avoid letting their dog near them.
Mouldy foods – Never let your dog rummage through a bin or compost heap where they might come into contact with mould. Some moulds contain harmful spores that not only cause stomach upset but also, if inhaled whilst eating, can cause lung damage and breathing difficulties.
Fatty foods – Giving dogs scraps from the table is often something people love to do, however feeding fatty trims of meat or overly rich foods that dogs are not used to eating can cause pancreatitis, a painful condition that often requires hospitalisation and lifelong dietary management.
Raw eggs – Feeding raw egg whites can affect biotin levels (Vitamin B7 which is important in the maintenance of keratinised structures such as the skin and hair) as they contain a binder called avidin. If eggs are to form part of the daily diet, they should be cooked.
Cooked bones – Raw bones often make a great treat for raw fed dogs but cooked, steamed and dried bones can splinter and cause damage to the mouth, stomach and intestines. If you choose to feed raw bones, do your research first on the most appropriate option for your dog.
Macadamia nuts – Raw, roasted or contained within other foods, macadamia nuts can cause vomiting, weakness, depression, tremors and an increase in body temperature.
Corn cobs – A common sight in summer time at BBQs, but whilst the left over cobs can make a lovely chewy snack for dogs, they are often swallowed whole causing serious intestinal blockage which requires surgery to remove.
“There are many everyday household ingredients that can potentially cause problems for dogs when consumed, so it’s vital owners do their research," says Melanie. "They should be kept well out of reach of pets and, if you suspect your dog has eaten any of these foods, it’s important you contact your vet for advice immediately."
8 human foods dogs can eat
Apple flesh – but the seeds and core can be harmful to puppies
Bananas, in moderation
Tomato flesh – but not the leaves or stalks
Cucumber, in moderation
Plain cooked or raw meat
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